A Review of the Year and Lessons Learned in 2021

Despite 2021 starting with a lockdown, I began the year feeling cautiously optimistic. I felt refreshed after a winter break of not being able to do very much, people were getting vaccinated and the days were starting to get longer. Sure, it looked like we were going to have to postpone our wedding celebrations and honeymoon again (we did!) but it felt a little like we were on the way to recovery.

It’s therefore been tough to have the whole will we / won’t we be able to celebrate Christmas, see family etc rear its head again right at the end of the year. Although I know there has been progress made it feels a little bit like the year hasn’t gone anywhere at all.

Most people I know found the first four or five months of this year really difficult, and then have enjoyed a much more ordinary life in the latter part of the year featuring trips abroad, going to events and generally just forgetting a bit that the pandemic is still a thing. I therefore look a little bit contrary by saying that I’ve found the last few months the hardest of this year, and I’ll be honest it’s still affecting how I feel about the year now. I’ve had a huge period of change at work which has been incredibly stressful – madly recruiting and covering multiple roles at once has not been fun. There have also been various things affecting family and once again I’ve felt a little too far away to be able to help. I’m finding the fact that it’s still difficult to plan anything with certainty quite frustrating – would you feel brave enough to book a big trip to Canada at the moment?

If anything, this year has proven to me various things I was already aware of : I’m risk averse, I’m a worrier and I do still like a daily walk. In an effort not to forget some of the highlights this year has brought (as it’s not been all bad), I’m still going to share some of my favourite moments as well as some of the lessons I’ve learned this last year.

Most of my highlights this year have involved seeing people and doing the things that weren’t possible last year.

Highlights of 2021

  • A fabulous week in the Highlands of Scotland which involved a lot of beautiful scenery, fresh air and aching legs
  • Climbing Ben Nevis (as part of the above trip)!
  • A trip to the beautiful Eden Project (which also involved seeing some family we hadn’t seen in far too long)
  • Getting to do ‘normal’ things like going to the cinema, the theatre and going bouldering
  • A weekend in Sheffield involving leopards, polar bears, Japanese food and plenty of boardgames
  • Being able to return to the office and reconnect with colleagues
  • Finally getting our much delayed “wedding night” – a weekend involving long walks, bowling and lots of tasty food
  • Making time to do creative things (even if that hasn’t always extended to blogging…)
  • Challenging ourselves to make the most of each weekend in lockdown by doing things like indoor camping, making pastry and trying new things
  • Going to a Food Festival

Lessons Learned in 2021

  1. Indoor camping is a lot of fun, particularly when the weather is terrible outside
  2. Homemade chutney is actually pretty tasty
  3. One of the easiest ways to read different things is to read the books other people select for you
  4. Starting small is the best way to start with weights (even if you feel a bit pathetic!)
  5. Eating a good meal never fails to improve your mood
  6. Even in the rain and the cold you can enjoy a long walk, you just need to wear the right clothing
  7. A day without using a phone is often a better day
  8. Cross-stitch is time consuming but very satisfying
  9. If you don’t stop when you need to, your body will eventually make you stop
  10. Injections don’t have to be scary
  11. More people are likely to open up if you’re honest about how you feel
  12. Most cities are covered in public footpaths – it’s interesting what you find when you follow them
  13. Some hand gels smell truly revolting
  14. Trying to shop without plastic is really difficult
  15. Period pants make each month better
  16. It’s easier to not think about work if you’re filling the rest of your time with valuable things
  17. Sometimes just wearing something a bit different can brighten up your day
  18. Playing Pandemic Legacy is almost as stressful as living through a pandemic
  19. Quite often when people have what you want, you actually discover it’s only what you think you want
  20. The modern pentathlon is a bizarre sport

How was your 2021 and what will you be taking away from it?

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